“A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.”

~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Flight to Arras, 1942


Our daughter Katie inspired me today, fearless and free in her three-year-old glory. She embraces being herself, doing her thing, painting the world as she sees it.

This morning during our art class, we made Japanese fish prints—gyotaku (“fish rubbing”)—from large rubber fish and paint. I love the Abrakadoodle system, in which our teacher always models making the final product with the class in “circle time” and then the kiddos are set free to work on their own at the tables. In the demonstration, Miss Hope showed us how to paint the rubber fish, rub our papers on them, and then how to take circle sponges to make blue bubbles around them.

When she got to her station, Katie decided to make the project her own. Seeing how big the paper was, she thought of doing two different fish instead of one and having them swim together. Then she decided not to make blue bubbles, but to make mixed paint rainbow bubbles. Soon the other students around her wanted to do that, too. I loved the way hers turned out (mommy bias alert); her rainbow bubbles reminded me of times I have seen the sunlight make rainbows on the ocean water.

What I loved most, though, is that she is courageous in being herself, even in a classroom. Whereas my natural tendency through middle and high school was to follow instructions exactly for fear of not pleasing my teachers, Katie shows the spark that took me awhile to embrace and develop. She doesn’t care about being right or wrong; she just is. She did her project her own way. And it was beautiful.

My daughter inspired me today. Who says a three-year-old cannot teach a thirty-one-year old a few things? She is joy.